Male Homosexual Behavior and the Effects of AIDS Education: A Study of Behavior and Safer Sex in New Zealand and South Australia

By B. R. Simon Rosser | Go to book overview

active men in the less hostile environment. Similarly, the relationships of homosexually active men with lovers, friends, relatives, employers, and workmates appear to be less volatile and the lifestyle of homosexually active men more sedentary in situations where legislation against discrimination in the workplace and in the provision of services is enacted. However, it may be the case that the increasingly liberal social climate that then manifests itself in antidiscrimination legislation, rather than the legislation itself, is the underlying mechanism. These data do, however, establish that antigay discrimination is commonly experienced and that there are grounds for anti-discrimination legislation, even if the positive concomitants of such legislation are apparently limited to a reduction in social harassment. On the other hand, there appear to be few, if any, negative concomitants of such legislation (or social climate). Insofar as these data are clearly interpretable, such legislation may have a neutral or beneficial effect on AIDS prevention.

Regarding AIDS prevention, the hypothesis that a greater percentage of homosexually active men will seek HIV testing and counseling if they are confident that they will not be discriminated against may be supported by comparison of SA and NZ figures (although sampling artifacts cannot be ruled out). There would also appear to be a number of other beneficial effects for AIDS education and prevention, possibly brought about, in part, by legislation. These include greater participation by homosexually active men in gay organizations, a variable that is a concomitant of safer sex. No evidence was found that enacting anti-discrimination legislation may have a deleterious effect on safer sex behavior, while it may even assist a slowing down of the spread of HIV and AIDS, by promoting a more integrated and stable lifestyle for homosexually active men. Thus it may be anticipated that AIDS education among homosexually active men is likely to be more effective in areas where antidiscrimination legislation exists, because of the psychological effects of such legislation. Further research, preferably longitudinal, that avoids some of the methodological and sampling limitations discussed in the present study is urgently required to substantiate or reject some of the hypotheses reviewed in the light of the available data.


NOTES
1.
Psychotherapist Dr. Harry Benjamin, in Rutledge [ 1988], p. 94.
2.
Ross [ 1988a].
3.
Cited in Ross [ 1988a].
4.
Ross [ 1988a], p. 103.
5.
Sinclair & Ross [ 1986].
6.
Geis et al. [ 1976].

-67-

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